Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been detected in a dairy in San Bernardino County. State and federal animal health officials are working closely with the dairy farmer and his veterinarian to implement control strategies to eradicate the disease.
The diagnosis of TB was made after a suspicious mass in a cow identified during routine slaughter inspection was confirmed positive. CDFA veterinarians, in coordination with USDA, have completed tests on the other cows in the herd where the infected cow originated and determined that TB is present. The investigation into the source and possible spread of this slowly debilitating disease will continue.
Bovine tuberculosis does not threaten the quality and safety of milk and meat products in California. Almost all milk sold in California is pasteurized, which destroys organisms that could be harmful to humans, including TB organisms. The state’s two raw milk dairies are regularly tested for TB. All cattle processed for meat are inspected for signs of TB infection and rejected for consumption if they show signs of the disease.
Tuberculosis is a chronic, slow-spreading disease that can remain undetected for years. Infected animals, even those that appear healthy, can spread infection to other animals. The state of California has been involved in TB eradication programs since 1917. The last known case of Bovine TB in California was in 2009.
To assist in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, farmers and ranchers should adhere to animal import regulations, require TB testing of new cattle before purchase, maintain permanent identification of animals, keep records of animal movements into and out of their herd, prevent contact of breeding cattle with cattle of unknown origin, and cooperate with government officials on TB investigations.